In Spite of Bankruptcy, Detroit's Hotel Industry is Resilient

detroitWhile the ultimate result of the largest municipal bankruptcy filing in the U.S. by debt remains up in the air, Detroit's hotel industry seems to be staying afloat with recent openings and a steady pipeline. As USA Today reports, three casino hotels have opened in recent years; a new Starwood Aloft hotel is set to open next year in a landmark building in Grand Circus Park downtown; and developers have proposed turning a historic firehouse across from the Cobo Convention Center into a boutique hotel.

The Cobo Center itself is undergoing a $290 million renovation that should be completed by the end of 2014.

But even without the remodeled convention center, Michael O'Callaghan, chief operating officer of the Detroit Convention and Visitors Bureau, says demand is already strong for hotel rooms, and an STR study has found that hotel occupancy rates in the metropolitan Detroit area have gone from 47.5 percent in 2009, when automobile companies General Motors and Chrysler filed for bankruptcy protection, to 61.3 percent so far this year. Last month, hotel occupancy levels reached 70.3 percent.

STR also reported that as of last month, there were 41,286 rooms in metropolitan Detroit and another 824 under construction. Those rooms include developments downtown as well as in the suburbs, where properties such as the Hyatt Place Detroit Novi are scheduled to open soon.